I’m in my seventh year of retirement from my sport and have been spending more time with people who are ex-athletes rather than athletes. The vast majority of them are leading busy lives getting stuck into the next challenge they have. Naturally, all reflect on their lives as athletes and there is a striking number who sit with regret and discomfort with what they did or did not achieve.
It’s an unfortunate part of the human condition. Always seeking perfection and always seeking more.
I have spoken to ex-athletes who have been retired 30 years and who have families and great careers but still have a look of desolation on their faces when they talk about the moment they were dropped from the team or the moment they missed out on an Olympic Gold Medal by 0.8 of a second. You can see they have been carrying this pain with them all of their lives. Everyone has “should have been’s” about their careers. Some people never get to realize a moment of their dreams as their careers may have ended early through injury. Some people have won Olympic silver medals and bemoan not winning gold. Some win gold and bemoan not winning a second one.
“Our perspectives on our careers are what they are but they can be changed or they can be looked at a different way in order for you to exist with more peace about your sports career in your life going forward”.
This is the niggley bit of athlete transition that won’t go away unless it is dealt with sooner rather than later.
Get a new and more useful perspective on what you have achieved and aim for peace around it. As life move on our results and achievements become less relevant to everyone except ourselves. Athletes can become bitter and twisted and the people around them can get tired of the broken record.
It is also the part of athlete transition that people tend to forget in the pursuit of a new career. Once you are finished with your career you are finished and nothing can change what has happened.
What you can control is how it will affect the rest of your life. If you are years down the track and still haven’t reconciled your career and it still consumes your thoughts…you should think about getting some support from a professional.
That’s if you don’t want to remain bitter and twisted!